Seahawks Insider

Wednesday practice report: Unger, Gibson grateful for opportunity

Post by Eric Williams on Dec. 16, 2009 at 2:04 pm with 39 Comments »
December 17, 2009 10:10 am

The Max Unger era began at center for the Seattle Seahawks, but it wasn’t exactly how the rookie out of Oregon wanted the transition to take place.

Unger said that everyone on the line would have liked to stay at their positions, but because of the issues Chris Spencer had snapping with his left hand, the coaching snap felt it necessary to make the change.

“It’s not optimal for really anybody on the line,” Unger said about the position change. “We’d like to stay at our spots that we started at for most of the season.”

Unger said the line calls will be the toughest adjustment in making the move from guard to center, and the added responsibility that entails, although Greg Knapp said part of that responsibility will be shared by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

Knapp said one of the primary reasons for making the switch was to improve the beginning of the offensive play, which is the center-quarterback exchange, and that Spencer was struggling to consistently do that with his left hand.

“It’s a good opportunity for Max to play center for us,” Knapp said. “I went back and reviewed for the thought of making this transition what Max did in preseason. … He played quite a bit of snaps and did a fine job, so that was encouraging to review. And this is the reason why he came, was to help compete at the center position for us.”

However, Unger did not get any live snaps with Hasselbeck during the three preseason games that he played in, so he will have to quickly develop a rapport with Seattle’s starting quarterback.

“I wouldn’t say that this was ultimately where I want to be,” Unger said about the change. “I really enjoyed playing guard, and I really got comfortable there. It’s an opportunity, yeah, but at the same time I started however many games (13) at right guard and I definitely feel the best there.

“And having one week to prepare isn’t exactly what I wanted. No one really wanted it to go down exactly like this, but it’s kind of what we have to do.”

Offensive guard Mike Gibson was signed off of Philadelphia’s practice squad to the team’s active roster earlier this season, and is a player that the Seahawks believe could be a good fit in their offensive system.

Gibson is familiar with Seattle’s system, having played in a similar offense in Seattle, and also has zone blocking experience from his time at Cal.

“All I know is I’m going to have an opportunity to play,” Gibson said. “And I plan on taking full advantage of it and hopefully give them a chance not to take me out of the game, that’s the plan.”

Offensive tackle said with the changes up front and Seahawks head coach Jim Mora’s harsh words over the last, few days, the offensive line understands they have to perform better.

“He’s upset,” Locklear said about Mora. “He’s angry, and rightfully so. We went down there and from the opening snap we got embarrassed. And he told us. We all knew it. We don’t need to be told that. We were on the field playing. So he’s upset. He’s been upset. Even now he’s still got a chip on his shoulder. So we all got to take it to heart, and get ready for Sunday.”

Linebacker Aaron Curry (hip) was limited in practice today, and wide receiver Nate Burleson (ankle) is out this week. Both Hasselbeck and receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh were full go.

Game coverage
Leave a comment Comments → 39
  1. NFLN just reported that the search firm has 10 names on it and Holmgren isn’t one of them.

  2. “It’s a good opportunity for Max to play center for us,” Knapp said. “I went back and reviewed for the thought of making this transition what Max did in preseason. … He played quite a bit of snaps and did a fine job, so that was encouraging to review. And this is the reason why he came, was to help compete at the center position for us.”

    Are you kdding me? Knapp had to “review” it? Hell, most of us remember it.

  3. variable575 says:

    I’m wondering how much of this anti holmgren ACT is leiweke and how much is from PA. One would have to imagine Leiweke is in more command these days with PA’s failing health. This would allow Leiweke to be the chump that he is in the PR side of the possibility of a Holmy return. PA and holmy were too good of friends for this to be a snag between them—No, it is definitely between leiweke and holmy and might have been for a while.

    Hey BK, you got your unger wish!!!!!! I’m glad to,it was about time and just another example of how pathetic the decision making is by our coaching staff. This move should have happened weeks ago and could arguably be the reason as to why we lost against the texans—-of course we know its more than that.

  4. Dukeshire says:

    “And I plan on taking full advantage of it and hopefully give them a chance not to take me out of the game, that’s the plan.” That is a plan I can get behind. That is the perfect attitude heading into this situation. Go get ‘em Mike!

    Bobby – Do you recall what names were on that list? And was Holmgren not on it because they know what they have there or was the implication he is not a candidate?

  5. variable575 says:

    Eric–When should Leiweke be considered the target of replacement? When does his responsibility come into play when we’re talking about the Hawks fall from grace? No one has talked much about his culpability yet. He said PA(Paul Allen) has exacting standards that were not met by the outcome of Ruskell’s decisions with team personnel, doesn’t that lack of meeting standards fall into his lap as well?

  6. Duke – they didn’t say the names, but they did say there were 10 and Holmgren wasn’t on it. They didn’t rule out him coming back but they definitely said there seemed to be a lack of interest from the organization. I smell a rat.

  7. I think Leiweke shares a lots of the blame for what has happend to the Seahawks.

  8. I want a GM/Coach/QB combo that can go in to tough road games and win, even embarrass the opponent.

    Holmgren was 3-28.
    Ruskell was 1-18.
    Hasselbeck is 2-23.
    Mora is 0-4
    The Seahawks are 3-32 since 1999.

    For once I want to go to a road game and be the fan going crazy. is this too much to ask?

    I don’t care who they bring in, but this is goal number 1.

  9. BobbyAyala says:

    You smell a rat, I smell a snake in the grass. Just look at what and who Tod is. He’s a CEO who has shown a bigger interest in friendships than business. During the Ruskell presser, you got the sense that the two left the building together hand-in-hand. Ruskell hired all of his friends, and announcing Mora early was a smack in the face to Holmgren and it forced him out the door. Leiweke’s example is the one that trickles down, and it’s clear that his influence affected almost every decision Ruskell made. It’s not about winning, it’s about marketing, making money and maintaining relationships with friends. It’s seattle’s own good ‘ole boy network.

    Whenever a CEO acts in this manner, it’s clear that he will sell the fans down the river if it means making a quick, cheap buck for him and his friends because his purpose as a human being is self-service, first, foremost and always.

    He’s a snake. Nothing more.

    The boycott must begin in earnest. If Qwest becomes what Safeco did after the 116 win season, the Seahawks will suck for half a decade until the flushing begins.

    Boycott Qwest. Don’t support self-serving suits. This is your team, not theirs.

  10. I know other organizations have done this but I am more interested about the search party and how they came up with their candidates.

    If Leiweke wants people to “join us” then he’s stating that the organization has some football knowledge. Specifically, he’s saying the organization has good football people in it. With that being said, why can’t they find a candidate themselves?

    When I got married, I didn’t hire a search party to find 10 wife candidates and I’d choose one. When I chose a college, I didn’t hire a search party. When I chose to buy a house, I didn’t have a search party find it. Sure, you might get set up on a blind date that turns out well, have a friend who had good things to say about a school, or knew a friend who knew a friend who knew when a house was hitting the market.

    I know there must be legit reasons behind the seach party, but I am curious why Leiweke and Co. can’t figure it out for themselves. I know he doesn’t proclaim to be a “football guy” but still… there must be some people in place to have some “join us.”

  11. Kind of like the Jake Locker situation, I just want this to be done with. Speaking of which, I say hold off on drafting our QB-of-the-future for one more year and then trade our 1st and 2nd next year (plus whatever else is needed depending on our draft position) for the #1 overall to get Locker. Anyone else on board with that?

    Back to the Hawks, it sucks that I went from being extremely excited the day Ruskell got canned to now being extremely cynical about whoever the new hire will be. In fact, I hate it that I am cynical about anything regarding the Hawks, but that’s what is has come down to.

  12. If Locker is to become a franchise QB, then I have no problem with that scenario. Hell, the way things are going we won’t have to trade up to get the #1 overall pick next year, we will have “earned” it ourselves.

  13. By the way, for those hoping that we sign Incognito (definitely NOT including myself), the Bills already got him.

  14. Lefty24,

    Not to worry, the way this organization is being handled, our next year first round pick will actually will be #1 overall.

  15. Dukeshire says:

    That’s interesting but people do hire real estate agents to help them find a home. And people do hire match making services to hook them up. Regardless, I too am interested in the firm hired to bring in candidates. What is their backround? What teams have they assisted recently? And the success of those teams? etc…

  16. bigmike04 says:

    I would pass on the overhype media boy who fans are in love with but not me as I just dont think the guy is an QB period nothing more of White Michael Vick and that era is over.

    Jimmy C, Colt McCoy someone that is legit as QB and doesn’t run the ball like Vick ala Jake Locker.

    I will never be sold on Jake Locker as QB because he isn’t one kind like how NCCA sport are not clean as players are getting money under the table from Boosters, Agents, Family friends because they want some of their money when guy goes big.

  17. Didn’t they used this service last time around, and hired Ruskell?

    Well, I guess I’ll be rooting for Mariners for the next decade.

  18. BobbyAyala says:

    Here’s the thing, this is football, not brain surgery.

    What other team in the NFL has a “CEO?” What is the CEO’s purpose? Before Holmgren came in and during the early part of his tenure, the knock on the organization is that it was run like a business, and not a sports franchise.

    You don’t need that kind of crap to win football games, and PA, God love him, is a business man first and a sports fan second, and he gives way too much power to too many people below him.

    This is Microsoft.

    Look at what Miami did. They were 1-15 and they went out and hired one guy with incredible knowledge of the game, and now they are winners again.

    Think of all the money PA wastes on suits, when all you need is one guy.

    The truth is, football is a simple game, and, in all honesty, it doesn’t take a cadre of suits to build a successful franchise.

    You all may laugh at this, but a guy like Bobby K could literally walk into the VMAC and instantly make better decisions than Tod Leiweke. He may not have the resume that Snake Oil Tod has, or the degrees, or the connections, but he’s played football, and watched football and he can recognize what good football players look like.

    Ruskell was all about “changing the culture” of Seahawks football. He brought in Lofa, the kid exploded, Holmgren’s Hawks played in the bowl, and the next thing you know, Ruskell’s accepting invitations to speak at the owner’s meeting to explain his glorious, new-found tactic of emphasizing character.

    Character has always been an issue in the NFL, but that’s a cultural problem. Star athletes are coddled from birth, and raised in a society that allows them to be sub-standard human beings because of their enormous talent.

    Look at Michael Irvin, the guy was a degenerate in his playing days, but he helped Dallas win rings and he’s now a hall-of-famer.

    Our coach just when on record today and told the entire country what all of us already knew — EVERYONE considers the Seattle Seahawks a SOFT franchise.

    This is brain surgery. You don’t need a consulting firm to make easy, simple decisions. THey did this the last time around, and that produced exactly the type of hire that isn’t about football, but is about business.

    It’s not business. It’s sports.

    Snake Oil Tod has got to go, PA needs to wake up and stop over thinking this. Stop running the Seahawks like a Fortune 500, and start running them like a football team.

  19. So where do the Seahawks go and find a GM that can ensure the team wins the tough road games?

    Because the Holmgren/Ruskell/Mora/Hasselbeck combination sure didn’t cut it the last 10 years with that pitiful record.

    This is why the entire nation considers the Seahawks soft. Because they have spent the last 10 years getting hammered when playing a legit opponent away from Qwest.

    And this includes 2003-2007 when the team went a pathetic 1-16 in away games against teams that finished the year with a winning record.

  20. You guys sound like an angry mob looking for your next victim.
    First it was Ruskell, Mora, Knapp, Bradley now Todd.
    Somebody thinks the team isn’t doing enough to sign so & so and everybody jumps on it and wants to burn them at the stake.

    I happen to agree with you on Ruskell & Knapp ~ Just want to bring some of this into perspective. Just because Mike isn’t on that list doesn’t mean they won’t talk to him. Maybe they’ve already talked, Mike may want more than he can get in Seattle.. Or he’s at least trying to get more in Cleveland. (good luck there)

    On a side note, All west coast teams lose when they play a 10am game. Since 1990, West coast teams playing early on Sunday win only 3of every 9 games. (every team) The competitive committee should look into that. They should make a rule ~ West coast teams play at 4pm EST…. unless they want to continue giving east coast teams the advantage.

  21. East Coast teams lose when they play on the West Coast as well. Anyone know if the numbers are comparable? If so, then there’s no real advantage. If not, then there’s some merit to your argument. How about when a team has to travel to play in a Superbowl at a location that amounts to a home game for the opponent?

  22. I know that once the Rams started to stink the Seahawks had no problem going in and winning at 10 AM PT whereas when they were good the Seahawks couldn’t win there at all.

  23. variable575 says:

    Look at the geography of the teams in the NFL. There is a huge chunk shoulder to shoulder and on the same coast. That has to be a big factor. There neighboring foes are exactly that-neighbors. Not the case for the hawks.

    And no one is calling out for the next victim, and what are you even implying with “victim”, everyone is innocent in the hawks fall?—people are asking legitimate questions and when an organization is failing like ours–you start at the top and question everyone, that is called sound management mocarob. Leiweke should be no exception to that.

  24. On a different and sad note, it appears that Chris Henry of the Bengals has died after falling out of his pickup truck in a domestic dispute, from the Dallas Morning News.

  25. variable575 says:


    No one is calling for the next victim–and what are you implying with “victim”, that most are innocent in the hawks fall? Most would be guilty, with a big organization that is the Hawks there should be plenty of “victims” or better yet, culprits. With the hawks fall everyone should be questioned as to their contribution and that starts at the top. Leiweke should be no exception to that and his position incriminates him even more.

  26. variable575 says:

    disregard my last post-didn’t know the one before had posted because windows 7 sucks and i should have went with an apple.

    WOW to pabuwal–i wonder if he was pushed? either way that is horrible news. Life sure is fragile.

  27. They said he jumped in and fell out while his fiance continued driving.

  28. Seems like this Dallas Morning News report might be false which is good news. Guess you can’ t believe anything on the web unless you read it from TMZ.

  29. How about this one, the Browns have offered Holmgren $8-$10m/year to come in. (From Pro Football Talk)

  30. freedom_X says:

    Sorry, an NFL team is a big, multi-million dollar business. Not a pee-wee football team. I’d like to see proof that Leiweike is making football decisions such as picking players in the draft, deciding on schemes, or even picking assistant coaches.

    The suits are there to run the money part of the team, every team has them, the teams that don’t, don’t make much money, and usually teams that don’t make money aren’t very good. And every indication I’ve seen is that Leiwieke is very good at running the business side of sports franchises.

    In the end, it’s Leiwekes’ job on the line. Not ours. Turning him into Rasputin and Paul Allen into the Tsarina is just a emotional straw man to make one’s weak argument sound good. The results of the next GM will decide whether Leiwieke will stay or go.

    The irrational haters thought Ruskell would never get fired either because he was “Lieweike’s crony.”

    If Leiwieke picks Holmgren just to please the fans, and passes on a potential Zduriencik, then I think Leiwieke should be fired. But if he picks Holmgren because Holmgren is the best candidate, then great.

    One thing we never think about is, what if all the candidates are flops? It’s hard to prove, but it’s possible that NONE of the available people will be sucecssful. But you have no other choice than to bring the best person in available.

  31. Hey Unger, you’re a professional. You’ll make more in the next couple years than I will have made in my lifetime. I’m telling you what I would tell my kids: I’m not interested. “I’m comfortable blah blah blah.” You’re a young man with an opportunity. Shut up. Snap the ball. Knock some on their multi-million-dollar-a-year ass. Any questions?

  32. BobbyAyala says:

    Football is different, way, way different than baseball. Baseball is a global game, football is not, and time and time again certain individuals have proven to be winners.

    Leiwike saying that the next guy is going to have to “join us,” is a clear indication of an insecure leader who has to feel like he is surrounded by friends.

    The fact is, this franchise has had two great football minds in its history, Knox and Holmgren, and both were steeped in the tradition of the game.

    Everything that Tod Leiwike does is on the periphery of WINNING FOOTBALL GAMES, and you can have all the fluff and puff in the world, but people are not going to continue to buy season tickets simply for the experience of Qwest Field.

  33. Hey Unger. No whiners. You’re going to make more in the next couple of years than I’m going to make in my lifetime. I’ll tell you the same thing I would tell one of my kids: Take advantage of the situation and keep your mouth shut. The whole “I’m comfortable blah blah blah…” Yeah, I lost interest at “i’m not comfortable.” Let’s make this very simple: Remember the snap count. Snap the ball. Knock the SOB in front of you on his arse.

    Any more questions?

  34. I can understand the Seahawks not wanting to jump on the Holmgren bandwagon and sort through all the candidates. It’s good to have time to make a thorough decision. However, we really don’t have that luxary with the Browns offering what they are offering. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet. We know what he brings to the table and I think we should see if he’s interested. Yes, he made mistakes the first time around but you know it will better serve him this time around too (that and not having HC responsibilities too). Here’s my question? Could we get a better candidate? Yes. Who? I don’t know. All I know is that the Seahawks will be in much better shape 5 years from now if Holmgren is in charge. Maybe Candidate A and B would do better, but I bet there are candidates C, D, E, F, G, H, and J that would NOT be as good. Mike Holmgren is the safer choice with a proven track record who would bring back instant credibility to the franchise. Also, with Matt getting up there in years, there’s not many people in the NFL that I trust bringing in our new franchise QB more than Holmgren and we all know the importance of the QB position. Maybe we don’t draft that QB this year, but it’s coming in the near future where we need to find that next guy and I want a real QB guru in charge of this process.

  35. princeaden says:

    As for Jake Locker. With another year with Sark, I believe that he will continue to become an excellent pocket passer with the ability to run. More in the mold of a right handed Steve Young than a Michael Vick. And as previously stated, we wont have to trade pick to get a shot at him. At the rate we’re going, I’m afraid we will “earn” that 1st overall pick on our own merit.

  36. Mr Williams: Did Unger and Gibson know about the change last Friday and you’re just now posting it?

  37. Liewike a snake? Now I realize why I don’t come here very much any more. I think Tod was behind getting rid of Ruskell in the first place, just like he got rid of Whitsitt. He was able to take the emotion out of it for Paul Allen so the team could move on. Speaking of emotion, I suggest more of the fans take the emotional attachment of Holmgren out of the equation and evaluate him honestly.

  38. BlueTalon says:

    BobbyK: “Also, with Matt getting up there in years, there’s not many people in the NFL that I trust bringing in our new franchise QB more than Holmgren …”

    You mean like David Greene and Charlie Frye? or Seneca?

  39. “You mean like David Greene and Charlie Frye? or Seneca?” BT

    I think he meant Mat Hasselbeck, come again. In 2001 GM Mike Holmgren traded the Hawks 10th overall 1st and 3rd round to GB for MH along with their 17th overall 1st and 7th round pick.
    In 2004, Hasselbeck won the 2004 NFL Quarterback Challenge
    3× Pro Bowl selection (2003, 2005, 2007)
    1× All-Pro selection (2005)
    5 playoff appearances (2003-2008)

    And soon the Seahawks will be forced to find Hasselbecks successor. Who better than Mike Holmgren to use a high draft pick, or not. To date Holmgren has to waste a first round selection. His patience with Favre proved to be hall of fame. Again with Hasselbeck, All Pro. Seneca Wallace, 2008 QB Rating of 87 ranked 13th in the NFL above E. Manning, McNabb, Cutler, Favre, Roethlesberger…

    Seneca Wallace was a 4th round pick also chosen for his athletic ability in Holmgrens last year as GM. Wallace faired rather well statistically with Holmgren in his last season as HC.

    GM Tim Ruskell selected David Greene, 3rd round in his inaugural season.

    Seattle traded a 6th round pick to Cle in 2007 for Charlie Frye, an original 3rd round by the Browns.

    Hasselbeck joined former head coach Mike Holmgren and the Seattle Seahawks on March 2, 2001. The Packers traded him, along with their first (17th overall) and seventh-round draft picks, to the Seahawks for their first (10th overall) and third-round draft picks.

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